1. THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES is one of the most intense books I’ve ever read. Several times I had to set it down to digest what had happened. How long did I take you to write this and where in the world did the idea come from?
I actually wrote the book fairly quickly, I’d say in about three months. Part of the reason for that is that the idea has been percolating for about 15 years… since I was in college. As a freshman I had a lot of adjusting to do and one of those things I needed to adjust to was cable TV (I didn’t have it at home). So I kind of glutted myself at first.
I was watching some sort of true crime show about a murder of a young girl that had happened in a small town. Everyone pretty much knew who did it, but there wasn’t enough evidence to convict, so he walked free. The show named the town, and the suspect. I thought to myself, Gee, an unhinged person could take that information and… huh… that’s a novel.
2. This book is graphic at time, and deeply unsettling. You pulled no punches in writing this book, which makes it all the more gripping. Did you ever wonder if you were pushing the envelope too far?
No, I didn’t. Yes, it’s deeply unsettling, but so is the news. And that’s nonfiction. People asked me with A MADNESS SO DISCREET why I would write about a father sexually abusing his daughter in a book for teens. My answer is because th at’s who it happens to. The same is true for SPECIES.
3. Which character POV was your favorite to write – Alex, Jack, or Peekay?
Honestly, Peekay. She deals with a lot of her emotions anger, sadness, pain, love by making jokes about them. Humor is her defense mechanism, and considering that Jack’s is sex and Alex’s is murder, Peekay was a nice, light escape when it was her turn.
4. What message do you want readers, especially teens, to walk away from this with?
A better understanding of how the other sex views the world around them, and how our actions affect others. Because of multiple POV’s, both female and male, that stands true for readers of either sex.
5. How do you even begin to research a book like this? I mean, I felt like I was reading a Criminal Minds spinoff series. Criminal Minds: Young Adult Files.
Ha! Well, I had a lot of help from a friend of mine who teaches criminology at the university level. He was my junior high basketball coach. I shot him an email and was like, “Hey, remember me? I need to know about decomposition rates of bodies in the woods, and also how to burn a house down without making it look like arson. Email me back!”
6. Is there anything else you’d like readers to know about THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES?
This was actually my first novel. I attempting writing it when I was in college, soon after the idea hatched. I’d never written a novel before but I thought this was an important story. Originally Jack and Alex were adults, and Peekay wasn’t in the story at all.
But I was NOT a good writer at that point in my life. Believe me. I revisited that original manuscript when I decided to turn it into a YA story. And wow… it was unreadable. I didn’t even finish it. I DNF'd my own book.
I think it says a lot though about talent some of it is natural, but an immense part of the craft.
ABOUT THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES:Alex Craft knows how to kill someone. And she doesn’t feel bad about it. When her older sister, Anna, was murdered three years ago and the killer walked free, Alex uncaged the language she knows best. The language of violence.
While her crime goes unpunished, Alex knows she can’t be trusted among other people, even in her small hometown. She relegates herself to the shadows, a girl who goes unseen in plain sight, unremarkable in the high school hallways.
But Jack Fisher sees her. He’s the guy all other guys want to be: the star athlete gunning for valedictorian with the prom queen on his arm. Guilt over the role he played the night Anna’s body was discovered hasn’t let him forget Alex over the years, and now her green eyes amid a constellation of freckles have his attention. He doesn’t want to only see Alex Craft; he wants to know her.
So does Peekay, the preacher’s kid, a girl whose identity is entangled with her dad’s job, though that does not stop her from knowing the taste of beer or missing the touch of her ex-boyfriend. When Peekay and Alex start working together at the animal shelter, a friendship forms and Alex’s protective nature extends to more than just the dogs and cats they care for.
Circumstances bring Alex, Jack, and Peekay together as their senior year unfolds. While partying one night, Alex’s darker nature breaks out, setting the teens on a collision course that will change their lives forever.
ABOUT MINDY MCGINNIS:
Mindy McGinnis is a YA author who has worked in a high school library for thirteen years. Her debut, NOT A DROP TO DRINK, a post-apocalyptic survival story set in a world with very little freshwater, has been optioned for film my Stephanie Meyer's Fickle Fish Films. The companion novel, IN A HANDFUL OF DUST was released in 2014. Look for her Gothic historical thriller, A MADNESS SO DISCREET in October of 2015 from Katherine Tegen Books. Mindy is represented by Adriann Ranta of Wolf Literary.
Tour Schedule:Week 1:
9/20: Fiction Fare - Review
9/21: Fiery Reads - Playlist
9/22: Ex Libris - Review
9/23: A Glass of Wine - Top 10
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